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Group Starts Recall Drive Against Maron

March 08, 1990|CAROL WATSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

After months of threatening political reprisal, an Oxnard group has launched a recall effort against City Councilwoman Dorothy Maron for her part in the December ouster of City Manager David Mora.

Members of Community Concern, a group organized one week after three city councilwomen forced Mora's resignation, filed papers against Maron last week.

"If we are successful, it will show that people certainly do have a voice in government," Community Concern spokesman Ray Tafoya said.

Mora, who has been blamed by some for Oxnard's financial crisis, was asked to resign in December by the City Council after a 3-2 vote. Council members Maron, Geraldine Furr and Ann Johs voted against him, with Maron providing the swing vote.

Community Concern consists of a group of organizations, including the NAACP and the Assn. of Mexican-American Educators.

The group charges that Maron is unresponsive to their request to review the decision about firing Mora. It also alleges that Maron is trying to distance herself from politically unpopular decisions she has made and that she is working with hidden agendas.

Calling the charges unjust and untrue, Maron said she has no hidden motives.

"I'm not capable of having a hidden agenda. I'm too wide open," Maron said.

Maron said she has been advised for legal reasons not to reveal her rationale for voting to fire Mora. However, she has alluded to her belief that Mora made too many concessions to developers in city projects.

Maron said she has received calls of support--some from people she has not spoken with for 20 years-- and doubts that she will be recalled. She said she plans to release an official statement sometime this week.

Supporters of Mora say he was used as a scapegoat for the city's financial problems.

Community Concern originally made charges that racial discrimination played a part in the ouster of the Latino city manager. The councilwomen vehemently denied the allegations, which the group later dropped.

At the time, Community Concern said it would try to recall Maron, Johs and Furr.

However, the committee later decided to try to get rid of Johs by working against her reelection in November, Tafoya said.

Johs said she is confident she will be reelected and stands by her vote against Mora.

"The reason we're having problems is the financial mess that Mora and the staff put us in," Johs said.

Oxnard has been trying since last spring to climb out of a financial crisis that forced the council to make $1.9 million in cutbacks in June, 1989, and another $1 million in reductions last fall.

Furr, who is serving her first term on the council, will receive another chance, Tafoya said.

"Being fairly new, a person's entitled to one or two mistakes," Tafoya said. "We feel she made a very big mistake, and we will keep careful track of how she votes in the future."

Community Concern has formed a political action committee to raise funds dedicated primarily to campaigning against Maron.

The committee hopes to raise more than $10,000. So far, its bank account holds about $300.

The committee's strategy includes holding press conferences and advertising in newspapers, Tafoya said.

Recall proponents face their next deadline later this month when they must file copies of the proposed petition.

After the city clerk approves the petition, the recall proponents have 120 days to circulate the petition and gather more than 2,000 signatures from registered voters in the city.

The signed petitions must be filed no later than the first week of June to qualify the recall for the November ballot. The measure would need a simple majority to pass.

The first recall in the city's history occurred in 1984 when some residents, angered by a utility tax imposed by the council, opposed council members Manuel Lopez and Tsujio Kato.

Kato was recalled. Lopez narrowly won and still sits on the council.

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